Sunday, September 25, 2011
Shelly Yachimovich and Amir Peretz
For years it was David Ben Gurion and his socialists who ruled in Israel. The Eastern European immigrants that poured into Israel joined together in kibbutzim and moshavim to drain the swamps, plant crops and orchards, and even re-forest the mountains. It was a heroic, self-sacrificing effort behind the “miracle” of making the desert bloom.
As the nation matured the labor unions gained more and more control over business and industry. The old original political parties splintered and coalesced, until finally the major player was what is today known as the Labor Party. (Not an original name when one understands its roots.)
In fact in Ari Sharon’s book Warrior he tells that virtually all the IDF officer ranks prior to him were members of the Labor Party.
The poster boy for Labor’s inept leadership was (is) Amir Peretz. As Defense Minister his low point was the photo above where he was nodding and agreeing with the description of the IDF live action before him. Some alert photographers nailed him.
The most decorated living soldier in Israel’s history is the current Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Like most, he was a Labor Party member and leader. In fact he was the Prime Minister who represented Israel at the Clinton / Arafat / Barak Camp David meetings in 2000.
This famous shot of the two arch enemies horsing around about who would enter the door first did not make Barak very popular when the Ugly One’s bombers were setting themselves off at Barak’s voters.
This past year though Barak took four of Labor’s Members of the Knesset with him and formed the Independent Party. (Look for an article in the future on how Israeli politics works.) As Haaretz’s Yossi Verter said of the move, “Apparently, this is the first instance of a leader rehabilitating a political party by leaving it.”
When the terrorism got bad enough (Intifada II) then Barak was out and Ariel Sharon and his Likud Party was in, bringing both Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni as members of his party. Sharon cranked up the IDF and they put a stop the massive murders. Now it is just a trickle compared to what it used to be, though there is fear of Intifada III in the very near future.
Many people tie his totally debilitating stroke to the fact that in August 2005 he forcibly evacuated all Israelis out of Gaza. Be that as it may, Sharon simply turned it over to the Palestinians – a plan that Deputy PM Ehud Olmert later claimed was his own. Olmert took over and Tzipi Livni moved up in the party with him.
When Likud got angry with Olmert & Co. they bailed and formed the Kadima Party, which advertised itself as a balanced, middle of the road group.
What Olmert and the rest forgot is that the middle of the road is where one finds the dead possums. Oh, and the fact that he was constantly inept and found himself under indictment (still is) didn’t help any.
Tzipi Livni won the next Prime Minister election but in the parliamentary system could not get enough other parties to join her and the nod went to Benjamin Netanyahu.
Bibi offered Tzipi an opportunity – three times over the past years indeed – to join his coalition government. She in her traditional pouting way decided to sit on the back bench and snipe at the man who has more favor in America and Israel than any leader in Israel’s history since Sharon took over from Barak.
NOW a virtual nobody, Shelly Yachimovich, wants to take on the inept Peretz for the leadership of the Labor Party with the inferred credential that she hasn’t made his mistakes. I guess not. She hasn’t done anything. But Labor is desperate, and may well let her lead them.